Graphics over Gameplay?

By Gavin "Blayd" Keating

Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The technology available to videogame corporations is becoming more and more advanced. New systems, hundreds of times more power then their twenty year old counterparts are being pushed into the market. One of the main drives to increase your PC’s specs is gaming. And with the next-generation consoles looming over our shoulder, it seems that we have only seen the beginning of what people can do with videogames. However, unlike on previously released consoles, the focus of advancing videogames seems to be on the graphics, rather then innovative gameplay.

Mainly, PC games are to blame for this. Practically every new First Person Shooter could be defined as a graphically enhanced version of a previous shooter. Real Time Strategy games are also culprits of this trend. Every RTS I see is a StarCraft/WarCraft clone. Sure, they look beautiful, but it’s still the same game. Even most MMORPG’s can trace their roots back to games like EverQuest.

Console games, to a lesser extent, also fall victim to the Graphics-over-Gameplay mentality. The market is saturated and nearly dominated by franchise games, such as Madden, Final Fantasy, and Halo. However, most of these games are simply copies of the original with beefed graphics and a few extra quirks (but no real innovation) with gameplay. These games will of course sell and thus generate rip-off games which copy the gameplay to gain a few extra bucks. Gameplay soon becomes a stagnant topic while more and more developers are looking to make there games “look awesome”, rather then “play awesome”.

I, for one, think it’s time that developers start concentrating on gameplay. Although not one of my favorite companies, Nintendo never fails to deliver exciting new games that couple great gameplay with incredible graphics, such as the recently released Resident Evil 4. Huge developers like Bungie and Id should follow suit and bring in new gameplay innovations with there awsome graphics.

Rumors flying around that Next-Gen consoles will revolutionize gaming are no doubt true. I only hope that gameplay will be brought into the limelight, rather then enhanced graphics.

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